MPs accused of sexual harassment will initially have their names kept secret under new measures, Sky News understands.
In response to a recent scandal, which saw a series of allegations of sexual harassment and bullying made against politicians and staff from across political parties, a cross-party group will publish its final report on Thursday.
Sources familiar with Parliament’s Working Group on an Independent Complaints and Grievance Policy revealed the group’s report will make a number of recommendations.
These will include a new behavioural code for all MPs, peers and staff, which will underpin a new independent complaints and grievance procedure separate from the political parties.
The group, led by Leader of the House of Commons Andrea Leadsom, will also propose dealing with sexual harassment complaints separately to bullying and harassment claims.
Meanwhile, the range of proposed sanctions for offenders will include written apologies, mandatory training and future behaviour agreements.
For the worst cases, MPs could even face being kicked out of Parliament by voters, while staff would be dismissed.
However, in what is likely to be the most controversial proposal, it is expected the new processes will be confidential for all involved until cases are escalated through the relevant parliamentary bodies.
In what are judged to be lesser cases, those accused will have their identity protected until the complaint is finally resolved.
For more severe cases, those facing allegations will only be named publicly once the case reaches Parliament’s Committee on Standards.
A source said: “It is designed to instil confidence for all involved. You won’t have your name splashed in the papers if you make allegations. And you won’t have trial by media if you are accused.”
The proposal to preserve anonymity for those accused, until they are found guilty of wrongdoing, may prompt fears it will stop other potential victims from coming forward.
In some cases, the Westminster scandal saw initial allegations made by one individual encourage other accusers to lodge their own complaints.
The plans, to be published through a written ministerial statement on Thursday, will be considered by both the House of Commons and House of Lords with a debate taking place in the last week of February or first week of March.
The proposals will be published alongside the results of a survey of all parliamentary workers, which will reveal one in five people working in Westminster experienced sexual harassment in the last 12 months, the Independent website reports.
Caroline Lucas, Green Party co-leader and a member of the cross-party working group, hailed the recommendations as “a blow to patriarchal politics” and a “step change for those fighting sexual harassment and bullying in Westminster”.
“I’m pleased that many of the policies I proposed have been adopted – and glad that the group largely overcame party politics to put forward a set of proposals that have the potential to bring about real change,” she added.
“Although the report doesn’t go as far as I would have liked in some areas, I’m proud of the extent to which we have signalled a zero tolerance approach to bullying, harassment and sexual misconduct.”